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January 2014 Archives

January 5, 2014

Three Kings Day Celebration at Disney California Adventure

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This weekend, January 3-6, 2014, Disney California Adventure will finish off its popular "Disney ¡Viva Navidad!" event with a festive Three kings Day Finale. Here to tell us more about it, is Mirna Bran-Hughes, Disneyland Guest Relations Cast Member and Training Specialist.

Although most of the festivities, including the fabulous, high-energy "Disney ¡Viva Navidad! Street Party" have been ongoing throughout the holidays, guests may also enjoy taking photos with sculptures of the Three Kings over at Paradise Garden...

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See a display of various cultural icons, including some shoes left out for the Wise Men to fill with presents...

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Or enjoy some of the holiday Mexican food options such as pozole, champurrado, and buñuelos. Special for this weekend is the traditional Rosca de Reyes bread. Typically eaten on January 6th to celebrate the Epiphany, there is often a small baby figurine (or an almond, to minimize choking hazards) baked into it to symbolize the Baby Jesus hiding from King Herod. The person who finds the baby is blessed and also has to throw the next Three Kings Day party.

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Of course the highlight of the event throughout the season has been the Street Party, with the Three Caballeros, Mexican folklorico dancers, samba dancers, and giant "Mojiganga" puppets.

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January 6th will be the last day to enjoy all these special holiday features, so come out and enjoy them and the spirit of the season while you can!

[Three Kings Day was also celebrated last year as part of the 2013 Limited Time Magic Campaign, as we detailed here: http://land.allears.net/blogs/lauragilbreath/2013/01/dia_de_los_reyes_magos_at_the.html ]

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, January 3, 2014.


A check in on Starbucks in Downtown Disney. It is moving along. The signs say a winter opening, no idea what that translates into.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

The construction I saw last visit by La Brea Bakery/World of Disney was a new sunglass icon kiosk.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

My first stop today, DCA. Passed by the Red Car on Buena Vista Street.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Condor Flats had a fair amount of guests walking around this afternoon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Wow! The line was out the door for Taste Pilots (it was about 1pm).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Noticed the Planes merchandise that was outside is now gone.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

But the Planes crew is still on the billboard.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Paradise Gardens is celebrating Dia De Reyes (Three Kings Day) this weekend in addition to Vivia Navidad! Jeanine has a posting on this event so I am going to only include a couple pictures and leave the description and detail for her.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Caught the 1:30 Viva Navidad! Street Party

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

A video clip from the finale.

Made another pass through the area. Goofy was out for pictures.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Mariachi Espectacular was performing on the Bandstand.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

A video clip of Mariachi Espectacular

I walked around the Pier then. Buzz was out for photos.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

The Pier walkway looked really crowded thanks to the Screamin' overflow queue taking up the right hand side. It was a 55 minute wait.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

The Christmas tree inside Ariel's Grotto. The lighting was a challenge.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Walked through Cars Land. Only 165 minutes wait for the Radiator Springs Racers.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Passed by Mater's Junkyard Jamboree which only had a 20 minute wait.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Five and Dime performing in Carthay Circle. Notice Dime has a new dress, she has had it for several weeks now but this is my first time catching them in a while.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

A Dickens Yuletide Band performing as I entered Disneyland this afternoon.

Sleeping Beauty Castle

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Benches, ropes, and arrows to help with crowd flow in Frontierland.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

The canoes were open this afternoon

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Some of the construction wall for Big Thunder has been removed near the smoking area. Now you can see some of the mountain and landscaping.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

The Jingle Jangle Jamboree was not too crowded this afternoon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Instead Santa was walking around in his less formal gear.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13


I came to watch Billy Hill and the Holiday Hillbillies one last time. They end their Disneyland run on Monday the 6th. I am going to miss them.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

A video of their big sing a long featuring the Country Bears to close the set.

A new churro cart in Fantasyland. There was a line so I could not get a good picture.. will try again next visit.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Olaf entertaining guests in line, the wait for the Frozen Royal Reception was posted at 120 minutes.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Small World Holiday had a posted wait of 60 minutes

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In Toontown Roger Rabbit was over an hour wait.

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A look at the crowd in Toontown.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

The Finding Nemo subs go down for renovation next week for most of 2014. Or if some internet rumors are to be believed maybe forever?

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

The Flower Market on Center Street has been reduced to just this archway.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Guessing this was done to ease traffic flow in and out of the locker area and for an overflow queue for Starbucks. Curious if the full display will return next week when the crowds leave.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13


The Dapper Dans of Disneyland performing on Main Street.

A couple pictures from the lights coming on in Cars Land.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Here is a video of the lighting from a previous trip.

Back to Buena Vista Street

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Santa has left Elias & Co and his meet and greet area is gone.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Returned to Disneyland for A Christmas Fantasy Parade.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

A video clip of the Winter Wonderland segment featuring cross country skiers this year.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Swing dancing going on in Downtown Disney this evening.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Stopped by the Winter Village in Downtown Disney

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Back to Disneyland for the 7:30 Sleeping Beauty Winter Castle Wintertime Enchantment Moment.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13


Next up Small World and its quarter hour projection show.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Here is a video from a previous trip of the show if you missed it.

Someone asked me what happens with Olaf at night when the Frozen Royal Reception was closed. They actually have a sleep sequence for him. No lighting really, just snoring and some movement.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

A video clip of Olaf sleeping.

Back to DCA for the 8:45pm World of Color Winter Dreams. Watched from a Standby Area. A couple random pictures from the show.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Then it was back to Disneyland to close out my evening with Believe in Holiday Magic.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13



Hope you enjoyed this highlight tour of the Disneyland Resort. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.



January 9, 2014

WDW 2014 Marathon Weekend - Inaugural Dopey Challenge, Part 1

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It's Marathon Weekend again at Walt Disney World, and Lee and I are back here again to fill our suitcases with bling and race shirts. :-)

Disney has added a new race and a new race challenge this year. On Friday, the Inaugural WDW 10K will take place. Like the other three races, it also starts and ends at Epcot.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

And now that there's a fourth race, Disney has again thrown down the gauntlet (or Mickey glove) and challenged those of us crazy enough to do all four. It's beyond Goofy to want to do that, so this one is appropriately called The Dopey Challenge. And there are 7,567 or so of us signed up to do it. (Thanks Chris Mushrush for that info!)

It's four races, on four consecutive (very early) mornings. 5K on Thursday, 10K on Friday, half marathon on Saturday, and marathon on Sunday. A total of 48.6 miles of race courses. Those who successfully complete it take home *six* medals - one for each race, one for completing the Goofy Challenge, and one for the Dopey Challenge. Even by my standards, that's a LOT of bling!

Because the first race is on Thursday, the Race Expo began a day earlier, on Wednesday. We arrived at Wide World of Sports this morning just about 10:00. The Expo was scheduled to open at 10:00, but they opened early - very nice for those who were waiting!

On the walkway to Wide World of Sports they have banners for each of the races set up, which makes for a very nice photo.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge
2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

We walked right in when we arrived. The last two Disney race expos I attended (Disneyland and Princess) were nightmares, but today I didn't experience any problems. I don't know if there were fewer people there early because the races are spread out over four days, or if they just learned from some of last year's mistakes (probably a bit of both), but we didn't encounter much in the way of lines at all. Though there was a VERY long line, and long wait, for those trying to buy the New Balance Disney shoes.

Almost all of the packet pick-up is in the Field House - the exception is the pick-up for the kids' races, which is at the stadium. Goodie bag pickup varies, depending on what races you are doing - for Goofy and Dopey it's also in the Field House, though for Dopey we still had to go to the Josten Center to pick up our 5K shirt. Odd - I don't know why they wouldn't put it in the bag with the rest of them.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

I really like the shirts this year! The designs and colors are great. And they have FINALLY given us a women's cut shirt - so a small actually fits me! The fabric is a lighter weight tech fabric, and they got rid of those awful gusseted sleeves which were so tight. My only complaint (you knew I had to have one, right?) is that they are still long sleeve. Now, I know I'm from California, where we rarely need long sleeves, but even in other parts of the country most runners don't wear long sleeves more than a few months out of the year...and we hardly ever need them for the races here in Florida. I'm going to cut the sleeves off and turn them into short sleeve shirts.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge
2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge


I'd pre-ordered a Dopey pin - so I had to go to the "commemorative items" line to get that...that was the longest line I had.

There was a small merchandise area in the Field House, but it had a pretty good selection of items - most importantly I was able to get a Dopey magnet to add to my collection (still bummed that I missed out on the Dumbo Double Dare magnet). There were actually several designs of Dopey magnets.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

I think this was my favorite shirt - it's more of a generic Marathon Weekend shirt, but it has the five medals on the back. (I guess the 5K medallion, since it isn't metal, doesn't count. Poor Pluto.)

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge


The merchandise area in the Field House wasn't too crowded, and the checkout line moved very fast (but if there's one thing Disney knows how to do, it's take money).

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

Next we went over to the Josten's Center, which is where goodie bag/shirt pickup is for most of the races. There's also a much bigger Disney merchandise area there, as well as all of the non-Disney vendors. It was more crowded, but not totally jammed.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

The I Did It shirts for all the races were over in the Josten Center. The Dopey shirts are tech shirts and not cotton t-shirts - I'd rather have cotton. They came in a men's and women's cut, but the women's cut are PINK...so I have a men's shirt. My favorite part of the I Did It shirts is the map on the back.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

It seemed like there was quite a bit more Goofy merchandise this year than in the past, and a nice selection for the new 10K, also.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

It seemed like this year they had the same types of merchandise available for all of the races (except the 5K). Shirts, magnets, headbands, mugs and glasses, and pins. Cast members were standing by to replenish it, so I hope they won't run out of Dopey/Goofy merchandise the first day, which is what has happened in the past.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

I was disappointed in this year's Coast-to-Coast shirts - in addition to being a tech shirt, I just don't like the design - it seems pretty generic.

We checked out the runDisney booth, and saw the selection of medals - we should have almost all of these by the end of next weekend! (The Tinker Bell 1/2 and new Tinker Bell 10K medals are on the right.) We asked if they were signing people up for the Disneyland Half, like they were last year, but no, registration opens at the end of January.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

There were lots of other vendors and we wandered around and spent some more money. It's my tradition to buy new sunglasses here, and I did, and Lee got a new race belt.

Near the exit, Florida Hospital was doing a body composition analysis, with a device that measures weight, skeletal muscle mass, and fat mass, and they compute your body fat percentage. Didn't take long, and it was kind of interesting.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

We saw a number of our fellow Team AllEars folks wandering around - like our Team captains, Mike and Michelle.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

And MaryJean and Nancy, who were picking up bags for teammates whose arrival has been delayed by the horrible weather. (We also saw Joe, who was doing the same thing.) We were concerned that some of those running Dopey might not make it for the 5K tomorrow, but as I write this, I believe we've heard that everyone is either here or on a plane. Whew.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

Tomorrow starts our first of four VERY early mornings...though the 5K doesn't start until 6:15, unlike the others that all start at 5:30! We're looking forward to getting the Challenge started!



January 10, 2014

WDW 2014 Marathon Weekend - Inaugural Dopey Challenge, Part 2

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2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

One race down, three to go. Of course it was the easiest of the four, and we still have 45.7 miles to go. But it's nice to have one of them done!

We had never run the WDW 5K before. It's a MUCH smaller race, and a whole lot more pleasant! With the influx of 7500 Dopey runners this year it was much larger than usual (around 10,000), but there's a huge difference between 10,000 runners and 25,000+ runners like there are in the WDW half and full marathons.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

The 5K started at 6:15 (all of the other races this weekend start at 5:30). We planned to leave at 4:30, and scheduled a wake-up call for 3:30, whereas with the marathons we plan to be on the bus at 3:00! So it was almost civilized. Ok, relatively civilized.

We drove our rental car to the Epcot parking lot. We weren't sure what to expect as far as traffic went but there wasn't any - it took us a whole 9 minutes to get there and park!

Because it was such a short race we didn't have any bags to check - good thing, because there is a security bag check outside the pre-race area for anyone with bags. (I suppose it's a necessary precaution after Boston.) I can't imagine what the lines for that are going to be like on Saturday and Sunday when there are way more runners. So, if you're going to be running this weekend and will have a bag, allow time for that!

It was a little bit chillier this morning than we expected - since we've been here the expected temperatures for the weekend have continued to drop. That's a good thing as far as running goes, but because we were expecting warmer weather we didn't bring as many throwaway clothes. We both had brought mylar sheets we'd saved from previous Disney races, and those kept us warm enough.

We met a whole bunch of Team AllEars people before the race - I think just about everyone on the team who was in Orlando came out to either run the 5K or cheer for those of us who were running it. And there were another 8-10 who missed the team photo. (Thank you to Tom Troost for allowing me to use his photo. If you click on it you'll see the larger version.)

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

Some of our teammates ran in costume - this group was superheroes:

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

And Bryan dressed up as Buddy from Elf. He had the hat, too, though he wasn't wearing it in this photo.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

There were six start corrals for the 5K. We were in B. Looking around us, we saw almost all Dopey bibs - but since Dopey runners were about 3/4 of the total I guess that shouldn't surprise me.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

The race started right on time, and we were off about 5 minutes later.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

I was pleasantly surprised that the course wasn't too crowded. We ran backstage around Epcot, and came into World Showcase next to the Mexico pavilion. The mile 1 marker was maybe 1/4 mile before that - 1 down, 47.6 to go...

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

It was still quite dark, but World Showcase was nicely lit.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

The lines were long, so we ran by the photo ops with Flik, Daisy (in Norwegian costume), and Dopey - Dopey had a HUGE line. Not surprising, considering all of the Dopey runners! There was a relatively short line for Remy and Emile in France, so we stopped for that.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

After we went over the bridge from France we went out the International Gateway, then backstage behind the UK. Then back into World Showcase between the UK and Canada and through Future World to the park entrance, then a U-turn up the other side, then backstage again and out into the parking lot to the finish line.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

After we got our Pluto finisher medallions we had to get our Dopey wristbands - that's how we prove we have completed each race. There appeared to be a huge line for that, but it turned out it wasn't really the line, and cast members and volunteers got us moving more efficiently so we could get our wristbands fairly quickly. We think that we get a new wristband every day and can then get rid of the previous one. I hope so, because I really don't want to have to wear three wristbands on Sunday!

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge
2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

They had the usual silly runDisney food boxes...though after just a 5K we didn't really need much to eat right away.

It started to drizzle a bit after we crossed the finish line, and kept that up for a while. Not really raining though, so that was nice. We went to the spot near the finish line where some of our teammates were cheering, and cheered as the rest of our teammates finished the 5K. Good job, everyone! There were a number of people who walked it together, and it was fun to watch them finish.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

As we were walking back to our car we walked past the start line, and they had already replaced the 5K banner with the 10K banner they will need tomorrow!

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

The 5K was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it. We took it very easy since we still have three much longer races to get through. The theme was fun and it was nice to see Pluto get a little love, too, since the rest of the Fab Five all have their own races and medals this weekend!

It'll be another early day tomorrow, but I hope I'm tired enough tonight that I sleep a little better.



January 11, 2014

WDW 2014 Marathon Weekend - Inaugural Dopey Challenge, Part 3

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2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

Two races down, two to go! Unfortunately it's the two SHORT races, so we've only done 9.3 miles and have 39.3 left. Yikes. We're feeling good, though - we took it very easy in today's 10K and had a good time running with some of our teammates.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

This was the Inaugural Walt Disney World 10K. It was Minnie's race, and she's the one on the 10K medal. The medal is very nice, and as my friend Eddie pointed out, it has my favorite word on it: Inaugural. :-)

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

This one started at 5:30 instead of 6:15, so we left our resort at 4:00. There seemed to be more people this morning, or at least more people driving, though we still never hit stop-and-go traffic on our way in. We were parked in row 17 rather than row 14 like we were yesterday.

It's probably a good thing I'm blogging each day because otherwise all of these race mornings are going to seem the same after a while. :-) We met our fellow Team AllEars members and posed for a team photo, and then eventually dispersed to our corrals. (Click on the photo below to see a larger version. Thank you, Tom Troost, for the photo!)

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

This time a group of teammates dressed up as Avengers characters - here's Iron Man and Pepper Potts.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

It was odd...there seemed to be more people at the race, but fewer people in the corrals - there were just as many corrals as yesterday - A-E.

Today we ran with some of our teammates, and that was really fun. They were doing 2:1 intervals, which I hadn't done before, but it worked really well - a nice steady pace. And that's what I wanted today - actually that's the goal for the whole weekend.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

We started in Corral C. The race started right on time with Corral A, but then there was 12 minutes before Corral B started. Fortunately we started only 5 minutes after B. Apparently there were long waits after we started because we heard later that by the time Corral E started, some of the elite runners had already finished!

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

Mile 1 for today, 4.1 for Dopey! 44.5 to go!

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

The first three miles of the course looped around the perimeter of Epcot - some of it out on the roads and some of it in backstage areas.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

This time we came into World Showcase between Norway and China - yesterday it was Mexico. There were several characters in Epcot (though no Dopey today), but the lines were pretty long and we didn't stop.

The mile 4 sign was near the American Adventure.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

While running by we noticed that the construction walls came down last night from the new Spice Road Table restaurant in Morocco. It's scheduled to open tomorrow (Saturday).

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

I always enjoy running through Epcot in the dark...so pretty.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

We went out the International Gateway again, but this time we did a loop around Crescent Lake on the boardwalk. It was nice to see Team AllEars there to cheer us on!

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

After the loop we went back to the International Gateway and backstage at Epcot, entering Future World next to the Imagination Pavilion. We went across Future World and backstage at the usual place and then covered the last .25 miles to the finish line.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

We got our Minnie medals, and today there wasn't a line for the Dopey wristbands. We had one volunteer tell us we didn't need to keep wearing the wristband from yesterday and another tell us we needed to wear both of them, so we went to the Dopey tent and talked to a runDisney person, who verified that yes, we only needed to wear the most recent wristband. (Some of our teammates are still wearing both of them, though. :-) )

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

In the refreshment tents we received another silly runDisney food box...apparently we're going to get four days of the same crap. We scoped out a concession wagon next to the finish area that has bagels, muffins, fresh fruit and chips for sale. The same things that MOST races would offer their finishers in the refreshment area.

We walked over to cheer spot near the finish line where some of Team AllEars was cheering on the rest of the runners. We saw lots of really great costumes - loved this woman dressed as Kevin from "Up". I'm sorry it's not a very good photo, but it was a wonderful costume!

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

We saw our entire Avengers team finish - they looked fantastic!

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

Some thoughts on the new race...Lee and I ran our first 10K race at the Disneyland 10K in September, and we really like that distance. I really liked the distance this time, too, though I'm not wild about the course. The first 3.5 miles or so are pretty boring - nothing to see and not much entertainment, either. Once we got into Epcot, from then on it was good. The size seemed about right - it was not overly crowded. Just a few places that we had to slow down, but we never had to stop and walk (except where we wanted to!).

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

It was hard getting up at 3:00 this morning - and it's going to be harder still to get up at 2:00 tomorrow and the next day. Running the half marathon tomorrow will be our first real test. We are again planning to take it pretty easy. I'm hoping to get in some character photos during this one.



January 12, 2014

WDW 2014 Marathon Weekend - Inaugural Dopey Challenge, Part 4

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2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

Three down, one to go! Though we haven't even done half of the distance yet - Michelle told me today that it's not until we get 1.9 miles into the marathon tomorrow that we will have done 24.3...

I am beginning to think that the Dopey Challenge is really a long-term study on the effects of sleep deprivation. We are pretty tired. Today started at 2:00, and between the race, the team meet this afternoon, and hanging out having dinner with friends tonight, it has been a very long day already. So I'm afraid there won't be a race recap of today's half marathon for a few days.

I do want to leave you with this photo from the team meet today - this year Team AllEars raised $104,725 to fight breast cancer, and over the last five years the team has raised $330,620! Thank you to all of you who have contributed!

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

Marathon tomorrow. I think we are ready, and will get through it ok, but it's still going to be a tough day.



January 13, 2014

WDW 2014 Marathon Weekend - Inaugural Dopey Challenge, Part 5

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2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

It's official! We are Dopey! Great experience, but I am SO tired.

We lucked out and had absolutely perfect weather today - sunny, in the 50s and 60s, not too humid, and with a nice cool breeze. It was like running in San Diego. Really comfortable for running.

The course was the same as last year, so we had the lap around the Walt Disney World Speedway, and went all around the Wide World of Sports complex again. I didn't think there were significantly fewer people in the marathon but the roads were less crowded, especially in the narrow parts, and the lines for character photos were shorter.

Before the race we gathered for one final team photo. (Thanks to Alex Armas for the photo.)

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

The walk to the corrals wasn't even a shuffle this morning - we could just walk normally! That was really nice. We sat down in our corral to wait for our wave to start.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

There were fireworks for all of the corrals, which was nice.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

Our corral started about 25 minutes after the race started. We were at the front, which was nice.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

Mile 1 - only 25.2 to go! (At mile 1.9 we were exactly half done with the 48.6 Dopey distance.)

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

I was running with my friend and teammate Linda, and we had a great time when we reached Magic Kingdom - the lines for most of the character photos weren't too long and we stopped several times.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

As I said the crowds weren't too bad - even on "Cone Alley" as we call the one-lane section from Magic Kingdom to the Polynesian. We saw our friends Gail and Julian cheering near the Grand Floridian and stopped to say hello to them. They come out and cheer just about every year, and it's wonderful to see them!

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

I saw several groups of Team AllEars runners out on the course - it was fun to run with them a bit.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

Backstage at Animal Kingdom the keepers bring out some of the animals - that's always fun. This adorable little owl is named Finn - but he wouldn't look at the camera.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

And I had to get my photo taken with Jiminy Cricket - he's not a character you see very often.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

Outside Animal Kingdom was Mickey Mouse!

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

The stretch from Animal Kingdom to Wide World of Sports is long and boring. Our Team AllCheers group always sets up a cheering section there - they are such a welcome sight!

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

As I was coming out of Wide World of Sports about mile 19 I found some familiar faces! Lee was running with a different group, and they had started in an earlier corral. They'd been having fun along the coast taking their time, and posing for photos - they even took a ride on Expedition Everest! So I was finally able to catch up.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

They were having way too much fun, so I joined them for the rest of the race. At about mile 22 Eddie and Lee did pushups for Sarge. Lee was feeling so good he did clapping push ups.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

We eventually made it to Epcot. Aladdin told me I needed to be careful, because Abu likes to steal shiny things. :-) I was surprised that there weren't more characters out in Epcot - I only saw Aladdin and Mulan.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

In Mexico we stopped and several of us got frozen margaritas. Let me tell you, that was a great way to end a race! :-)

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

At mile 26 is my favorite sight of the race - the gospel choir. They sing us home.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

No new wristband today - instead they gave us three medals! Clank, clank, clank. :-)

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge
2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge
2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

The Dopey Challenge has been a really special experience, especially sharing it with teammates, and I'm glad I did it...but this may be a "one and done". The lack of sleep really caught up with a lot of us today, I think.

The recap of the half marathon is still to come. For now I'm going to call it a night, and I'm very glad that I am NOT getting a 2 a.m. wakeup call tomorrow!


January 14, 2014

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, January 10, 2014.

The off season has arrived at the Disneyland Resort, which means Christmas decorations are being packed away until November and renovation projects are underway around the parks. The tram stop billboards have been replaced. Buzz is now featured.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14


New Downtown Disney banners.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14


No wait to get into the park today. All signs of Christmas are gone from this view.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Snow remains on the castle but all the lights, garland, etc. are put away. Also note just because it is off-season does not mean the walkways are empty.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Fantasmic is dark for several weeks. Two of the three fountain/light lifts are in dry dock and being worked on.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

As is the Columbia.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

The Mark Twain is still sailing the Rivers of America.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

New Orleans Square still has some of its Christmas decorations up.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

More scaffolding, tarps, and walls are now up all around New Orleans Square as Club 33 is closed and being renovated.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

You cannot reach the rest rooms from the Pirates side you have to walk around to the train side to enter.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14


Walking around by the train exit and where the restrooms are, more walls and scaffolding.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Haunted Mansion is closed as they remove the holiday overlay.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

A look down from the Mark Twain at the fountain work.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

New Orleans Square was relatively quiet this afternoon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

The Frontierland Troupe has moved into the Jamboree area.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Sarsaparilla Sam was performing when I arrived.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Sarsaparilla Sam performing The Talent Rodeo song from the Original Mickey Mouse Club.

Robin Hood and Friar Tuck out for pictures at the Nature Lovers backdrop.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14


You had the Outlaws

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Nature Lovers

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

And Kinfolk

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

In the outlaws area, the step family from Cinderella was out.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

The current food offerings in the Jamboree

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

When it came time to switch which characters were out the new group was lead out by a horse, Dakota.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

It was a small procession but a nice way to do the switch.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Sarsaparilla Sam performing When You Wish Upon a Star


Next up was Cowpoke Jimmy

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

The performing arts showcase was going on in parallel with this featuring a dance group.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Honest John and Gideon from Pinocchio in the Outlaw area.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Suzy and Perla from Cinderella in the Kinfolk Area

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Horace and Clarabelle in the Nature Lovers area

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14


Pinocchio and Geppetto in the Kinfolk area.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Last week I said I would get a better picture of the new Churro cart in Fantasyland. So here are a few.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Toontown is still decorated too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

The sub lagoon has walls up as they are closed for renovation for most of the year, slated to return in September last I saw.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

The Seagulls are no longer out.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

I read they are starting to clean Space Mountain. It needs it.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Hopped on a street car, a rare treat for late afternoon thanks to no parade today.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Next stop DCA. Christmas decorations are removed from Buena Vista Street.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Well most.. the Red Car still had some.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Unfortunately the old window displays returned.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Trolley Treats had this message from Olaf in the window.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Cars Land is about halfway back to normal. The overhead decorations and some of the other lights have been removed.

For example Sarges lights are gone.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

But his tree is still out.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

The Winter Dreams presents have been removed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

And World of Color is not being performed so some work can be done on the fountains.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Viva Navidad is gone and Paradise Garden has returned to normal.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Redwood Creek is closed for some work.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

As are the restrooms at the entrance to the park.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Back to Disneyland and crossed paths with Donald.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Back out to the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree - Robin Hood was conducting.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Characters, cast members, and guests all dancing and enjoying the evening.

A video of the characters parade/switchover. This seemed to be occurring at the top and bottom of the hour.

Stopped by Small World Holiday

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Here is video of a complete ride through of Small World Holiday.

Mickey and the Magical Map - King Louie

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Video clip of the Hawaiian Roller Coaster segment now featuring Stitch.

Tonight A Hard Days Night: A Tribute to the Beatles were performing at the Tomorrowland Terrace.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14
Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Some clips from their first set of the evening.

Sleeping Beauty Castle. Almost think they should leave the snow up in the winter.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Since there is no Fantasmic that means night cruises on the Mark Twain.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Back to Tomorrowland for the second set of A Hard Days Night.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14


A couple clips from their second set.

I closed out my evening with Remember Dreams Come True fireworks.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

The covers of the new guide maps.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14

Hope you enjoyed this highlight tour of the Disneyland Resort. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.



January 15, 2014

WDW 2014 Marathon Weekend - Inaugural Dopey Challenge, Part 6

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2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

Three down, one to go! But we haven't even done half of the mileage yet...we have completed 22.4, and still have 26.2 left!

It was VERY hard to get up at 2:00 this morning...we both really, really, really wanted to go back to sleep. But today was the first real test of this whole Dopey Challenge thing - at 13.1 miles a half marathon is much more of an endurance test for most of us.

We again drove to Epcot, leaving our resort at a little after 3:00, and again we had minimal traffic. Even including parking it only took about 12 minutes. But that's because we left EARLY.

Before I go any further I want to say a HUGE thank you to all of the volunteers and cast members who get up even earlier than we do to man the aid stations, direct traffic, answer questions, and probably a thousand other jobs that we might not see, but that are absolutely necessary. I don't know how they manage to keep doing it with smiles on their faces, and words of encouragement, but they do, and we are SO appreciative and grateful. This is Andrew, who we also saw the morning of the 10K. Notice his duck hat, and his gloves, which had glowing fingers - he told us to touch them for a burst of power. :-) (I did - every little bit helps!)

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

It had rained during the night and it was quite humid. The temperature was about 67, so it was our warmest race so far. Showers were expected about 9:00, and thunderstorms later, so we were hoping the rain would hold off for the race. At least the overcast kept the temperature down while we were running. (The showers never materialized, though we did have thunderstorms and heavy rain that night.)

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

We again gathered for a pre-race meet and photo. (Thank you to Phil DeLuccia for the photo!)

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

And then it was off to the start corrals, which are about 1/2-3/4 mile from the pre-race area, mostly on a fairly narrow road. This often entails shuffling along, shoulder-to-shoulder, for what seems like hours. This year we headed out about as soon as they opened the corrals and it wasn't TOO bad, but still a bit congested. That's one thing that was so nice about the 5K and 10K - we didn't have that long crowded walk to the start.

One thing that runDisney did this year to try to help with the course crowding was to add more corrals, but put fewer people in them, and start the corrals at different intervals, depending on the number of people. There were 16 this year - I think there's been 8 in the past.

We started in Corral K with a group of Team AllEars runners. We couldn't even SEE the start line, and once our corral started moving it was still a pretty long walk to the start! Most of the corrals got a nice fireworks display when they counted down to the start but ours didn't. :-(

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

Our corral started about 6:05, which was 35 minutes after the race started. The elite runners were halfway done by then, and we saw the first ones heading back when we were less than 2 miles into the race.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

Mile 1 - only 38.3 to go!

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

We ran with a different group than we did yesterday - they were doing 30:30 intervals. That was very different for me - I train with a longer run interval. But I have to say that I never had time to get out of breath, and since this was all about getting through the half and surviving to run the marathon on Sunday, it worked out pretty well.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

Near the Contemporary we have to run under an overpass. There's always a DJ up there talking to us - and he has these huge Mickey hands (which unfortunately you can't see in the photo). This overpass is actually the waterway that connects Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon, so he told us that we were running under water. :-) Running under means that it's downhill at first, but then uphill on the otherside...this is always a slow part of the race because it's narrow and then uphill.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

At about mile 5.3 we entered Magic Kingdom! It's always a lot of fun to run on Main Street. We stopped for a photo with the castle.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

And we had to stop to greet our AllEars Cheer section at the hub. They are the best!

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

The lines for the first few sets of characters along the race course (the pirates and the Nightmare Before Christmas characters) had been really long, but the lines in Magic Kingdom weren't quite as bad. Lee and I wanted to get character photos so the rest of the group went ahead. I was very excited to see Tigger in Liberty Square - in all of the Disney races I've done I've never gotten a photo with Tigger! The line wasn't very long, either.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

After leaving Magic Kingdom we get to my least favorite section of the course - we call it "Cone Alley". It's from Magic Kingdom to past the Polynesian. The road is only two lanes, and since they need to allow outbound traffic from that area they restrict runners to one lane with a seemingly endless line of orange cones side-by-side. Even though we are 6+ miles into the race by then everyone gets really bunched together and it's slow going. Sometimes it's completely blocked by walkers and it's very frustrating.

There were a few characters in this stretch, and we stopped for a couple of photos. I was surprised NOT to see Mary Poppins at the Grand Floridian - no characters at all there, which was unusual.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

We saw this character, though - Laura is our craziest Team AllEars cheerer. She loves sweaty hugs, and thinks toenails are for sissies. :-)

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

At one point we ran past Dr. Dribble - he was dribbling two basketballs for the entire course! (He did it Sunday during the marathon, also.)

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

We caught up with our teammates around mile 9.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

Our friends Gail and Julian were out cheering at mile 9.7, and it's always wonderful to see them out there!

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

This is the first time I've seen Disney Cruise Line cheering - they had a cruise line bus and some banners and an officer or two. Someone was announcing runners like they do when you board the ship: "Disney Cruise Line welcomes ...!" It was fun.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

At mile 11.1 was the main Team AllEars section - it's always wonderful to see them, and not just because it means we are almost done. :-) I don't know how any of them have voices left after the weekend. (Actually I saw a number of them on Sunday night and many of them were pretty hoarse.)

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

Yippee! Backstage at Epcot is my favorite sight - the gospel choir. It means only .2 miles to the finish! We were still feeling pretty good but I told Lee there would be NO sprinting to the finish. "There's no sprinting in Dopey!"

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

We crossed the finish line - Lee even got a shout-out from race announcer Rudy Novotny.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

After we got our Donald medals we got our third (and last) wristband. Though you see all three in this photo, I was only wearing one of them - the others I had cut off but then wrapped around my wrist. I only had the one 1/2 marathon band on the final day.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

I've complained about the contents of the silly runDisney box but I hadn't taken a photo - here's what we got every single day. (They did have bananas every day, too.)

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

But one thing that was available in the finish area was champagne!!! That seemed to me like a fine way to celebrate completing the half marathon.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

On the big monitor at the finish area we had watched a number of our teammates cross the finish line and we caught up with them after they exited the race area. Everyone did just great! Several of them were having not-so-good days (Lee and I call them "rock days", because our coach tells us: "Some days you're a diamond, some days you're a rock."), but they toughed it out and finished strong anyway.

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

We are happy that the half is done, and are feeling pretty confident about getting through the marathon tomorrow. That's a lot of miles, though. I saw a runner with a t-shirt that said: "Why couldn't Phidippides have died at mile 20?" :-)



January 26, 2014

2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend - Part 1

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Time for the third annual Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekend at Disneyland! Lee and I had run the first two, and we are trying to remain "perfect" for this race. Coming only a week after our Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World made this one a little more challenging this year - and if that weren't enough, we were also running the Inaugural Tinker Bell 10K on Saturday! That makes a total of 67.9 miles of racing in 11 days. OK, so maybe "racing" is a relative term...

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

We earn three more medals - the new 10K medal, the half marathon medal, and our Coast-to-Coast medal. No "challenge" medal for doing the 10K and the half with this one, though.

The Never Land 5K was Friday morning - unlike last year's Disneyland 5K and 10K they didn't attempt to hold them both on the same day. We had to work and missed this one...I'm sorry we did because it looked like lots of fun!

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

We went to the Half Marathon Expo late afternoon on Friday to pick up our bibs for the 10K and the half marathon. And we also got our Coast-to-Coast wristbands. Because hey, it's not a Disney race if I'm not wearing a wristband!

The Expo was not too crowded - a much better experience than the Disneyland Half Marathon Expo last year. They had queues set up for the Official Merchandise area but they weren't in use when we were there.

I didn't take very many Expo photos, but Jason did when he was there earlier in the day, so most of these are his. Bib pickup was in the parking garage of the Disneyland Hotel, while the Expo show floor was in the Convention Center upstairs.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

That's where we picked up our goodie bags with our shirts. This year we also received a couple of drawstring bags/backpacks.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

The shirts, well, I like the fabric and the logo, and the women's cut is flattering, but I'm really not wild about the colors. The lavender is ok, but the raspberry pink...ick. (It looks more red in the photo, but believe me, it's pink.) And they are long sleeve. Which has very limited usefulness in California. There's not too many mornings I'd want to wear it while running. I know the men were less than enthused with the colors, also. Of course I'm sure some out there will say: "What do they expect, running a women's race?" But I don't think the colors had to be quite so feminine. Last year's mint green was a lot better.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

This Expo is not as large as the ones at Walt Disney World, but there were still a lot of vendors selling running gear and clothes and other accessories. As usual, those selling sparkle skirts and wings were doing great business - we did our share of shopping.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

RunDisney had a fairly large booth, where you could see samples of the medals that will be given out at other Disney races this year.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

A couple of our West Coast Roadrunner coaches were working at The Stick booth, and helped work out some knots in our calves.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

Lee participated in this fun photo-op at the Lady Foot Locker booth.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

The Official Merchandise area was not crowded and still seemed to have all of the merchandise we expected. We were able to get our Tinker Bell magnets, and we both got this shirt - it has images of the three medals on the back side.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge


Even though it was an Inaugural race there was very little 10K merchandise - I saw this shirt and a pin. (Though I suppose that's better than the 5K, which only had a pin.)

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

I'm very disappointed in the design of the Coast-to-Coast shirts this year. It's very plain and un-Disneyish. (The women's version has bright pink lettering. Yuck. Yes, I know lots of women love pink. But I don't.)

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

The Inaugural Tinker Bell 10K started at 6:00 on Saturday morning. One of the VERY best things about Disneyland races is that YOU CAN WALK TO THE START LINE FROM YOUR HOTEL! There's no need to get up insanely early to catch a bus. We got up at 4:00, which, after our Dopey experience in Florida, seemed like sleeping in. Helped by the fact that we are in our own timezone - another thing I love about Disneyland races.

We stayed at the Anabella Hotel on Friday night. Since there had been no announcement of a 10K at the time I booked our DVC villa at the Grand Californian, I only had Saturday and Sunday nights reserved there. The Anabella was very close to the start and finish areas next to the Paradise Pier Hotel, so it was a good choice. The hotel was fine, though parking was a problem. We were able to find a space, but we saw lots of cars that arrived later and were illegally parked.

We met our friend Eddie in the pre-race area at 5:15 - by then they were already telling people to go to the corrals. Though there weren't that many runners - I don't think there were more than 7,000 and I think it was closer to 6,000. It was a nice size!

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

It was an absolutely perfect morning for running - in the high 40s with fairly low humidity and very little wind. I wore a throwaway t-shirt while we were waiting to start, but otherwise I was comfortable in my pull-on sleeves for most of the race - I only pulled them down towards the end. The guys were fine in their short sleeves.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

We were in Corral A, and were able to be near the front by the stage where we could see all of the pre-race activity. There were four corrals, and each had a fairy coach - Vidia for us, as well as Iridessa, Fawn, and Rosetta.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

The national anthem was played by a trumpeter - that was different, and was very well done.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

Tinker Bell showed up on the big screen to see us off...ready, set, fly!

This is a slightly different 10K course than the Disneyland 10K they held as part of Disneyland Half Marathon weekend last year. For this one most of the first four miles of the 6.2 mile course was either backstage or inside the parks, so there were a lot of interesting sights to keep us entertained. After we'd run backstage for a while we came into Disneyland right next to "it's a small world" which is still decorated for the holidays. (As you can see the guys didn't go all out with the costumes for this one, but they did wear pink calf sleeves and tutus - or man-tus, and some of the other runners called them.)

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

There were a lot of character photo opportunities, and we stopped for most of them. In the beginning we were far enough ahead of most of the pack that the lines weren't too long, but they grew longer the more we stopped.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

From small world we went back into Toontown, then backstage again before entering the park by Splash Mountain. Next to Haunted Mansion was what I think is my favorite character photo ever in a Disney race - the bride and the tightrope girl from the Haunted Mansion. So cool!!! The line was about 15 deep when we got into it, and a lot longer than that when we left. After we had our photos taken Lee looked back at the bride, and she gave a slight smile and said softly: "Hurry baaack..." It was great!

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

All of the mile markers had different fairies on them. There were lines to take photos with the mile markers!

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

Then we went into Frontierland and along the Big Thunder Trail to Fantasyland, then past the Matterhorn into Tomorrowland. We were having a great time, stopping for lots of photos, some with characters and some just for fun.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

From Tomorrowland we went around the hub and down Main Street to Town Square, where Eddie paused for a nap.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

Then we were across the Esplanade into DCA and onto Buena Vista Street.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

Through Condor Flats and by Grizzly River run, then counter-clockwise around Paradise Bay, where the World of Color fountains were running.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

Then we ran down Route 66 into Cars Land, taking photos with both DJ and Lightning and Mater.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

We took a left on Center St. and went into "a bug's land" - that was a little bit crowded. But we saw the best costume of the day - a pair of ladies running as Slinky Dog! One was the front end, and one the back, with some loops of wire connecting them. That took some coordination - they had to stay no more than about 4 feet apart.

We really went ALL around DCA, since we went out of "a bug's land" back to the main pathway next to Grizzly Peak, then back to Buena Vista Street and up Hollywood Blvd. The Monsters University characters were there but the line was long...and one of the sweeper bikes came up to tell everyone that we were only 4 minutes ahead of the pace.

We left DCA next to Tower of Terror, and that was just about the 4 mile mark. Since we only had 2.2 miles left we knew we'd have no problems completing the race ahead of the sweepers - but all of our goofing off had cost us a lot of time.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

The portion of the race that was outside the park went north on Harbor to Manchester, then back south to Disney Way. Just after mile 5 we went backstage at DCA and ran around the back side of the park to the finish line.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

We got our new 10K medals - they are very nice, and have that lovely word on them: "Inaugural." :-)

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

The race was SO much fun - even though it was our worst 10K time, we had absolutely the BEST time running a race! We all really enjoyed the course - about 2/3 of it was in the parks, which was so much better than the WDW 10K the week before. The part on the streets of Anaheim was fine, and there were a fair number of people out there cheering for us, as well as a band or two. Anaheim does a great job with community support for the Disney races.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

The water stops were better placed than they were with last August's 10K (when it was SO hot). There were three: about mile 1.5, just before mile 3, and about 5.25. But with the cool weather we didn't need them as much.

Race refreshments were bananas and the silly runDisney boxes, though these had a better assortment, and included hummus and almond roca. Most of it was labeled as gluten-free.

As I think you can tell, we had fun, and I'd definitely recommend this race. I really enjoy the 10K distance - it is a lot easier to train for than a half marathon. And it's a good stepping stone for those thinking of trying to get into longer distances. I'm happy to see Disney adding more 10K races - next up will be the Inaugural Enchanted Princess 10K during Princess Half Marathon weekend at Walt Disney World next month.

Next up - the Tinker Bell Half Marathon!



January 27, 2014

2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend - Part 2

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This is it - the day of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon, and most importantly, our last morning of getting up insanely early for a while! Yay!!!

We had moved to the Disney Vacation Club's Villas at the Grand Californian on Saturday after the 10K, so we were even closer to the start line than we were for the 10K. We were pretty tired and had gone to bed early on Saturday night - I was asleep before 9:00, and never even heard the second World of Color show (heard the first one). The race started at 5:00, so we were up at 3:00. We didn't really have to get up that early, but it gave us plenty of time to have something to eat, check Facebook and weather, and put on our costumes without feeling rushed.

We met our friends Anna and Eddie in the lobby at 4:15 and walked right over to our start corrals - we never even went to the pre-race area. We were all in Corral B. This year they allowed men to start in B rather than all the way back in C. There were more men in the race this year - around 15% rather than 10% as in past years. And this year a lot of them were NOT in costume - that was disappointing. But our guys were - they were wearing their new sparkle skirts and wings, and they looked terrific. (And they got lots of compliments - I heard one woman say jokingly that it wasn't fair that a guy looked better in a skirt than she did. :-) )

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

It was race announcer Rudy Novotny's 60th birthday, so we all sang Happy Birthday to Rudy before the start of the race - that was a lot of fun! (Such a nice man, and he works SO hard - he and Carissa Bealert, too. They work the Expo and the races - the ENTIRE race, from the pre-race until the last person crosses the finish line. I don't know when they get a chance to sleep.)

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

Another great morning for running - about 48, not too humid, almost no wind. A few clouds, unlike the day before when it was clear. Lee, Eddie and I were all wearing our wings, which were tied around an outer sleeveless shirt, then pinned to it to keep them from bouncing around. By tying the straps around the outer shirt instead of wearing them we avoid chafing - makes for a MUCH more comfortable run. (The ladies at Team Sparkle gave us those tips when we first wore wings two years ago.)

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

As you might expect in a Tinker Bell-themed race we saw LOTS of wings, and lots of tutus, and quite a variety of each. Also a lot of people in other costumes - Disney princesses, pirates, Marvel and Star Wars characters...I am always amazed at how creative people are with their costumes. It's just one of the many fun things about a Disney race.

Where was I...oh yes, the start. :-) Corral B started just about 5 minutes after Corral A. We went north and around the perimeter of Disneyland for the first mile, then went backstage at DCA and into the park by the Tower of Terror, and ran down Hollywood Boulevard. That's where Mile 2 was. Aren't the guys just adorable in their skirts and wings?

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From there we ran into Cars Land and past Ornament Valley - this view was so pretty in the dark!

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

We went backstage and ran around the back side of Paradise Pier, re-entering the park next to Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta. They had characters from Viva Navidad to greet us.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

And the World of Color fountains, with the Fun Wheel backdrop. Such a GREAT photo op! Disney had photographers and cast members in most of the photo locations, but where they didn't, other runners were always happy to take our photo, and we returned the favor.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

We ran past Grizzly Rapids and Soarin', down Buena Vista Street, then across the Esplanade to Disneyland. That was just past Mile 3 - and we'd just arrived in Disneyland! Love all of the park time that we get on this course!

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We ran up Main Street, where Tinker Bell was on top of one of the drums from Soundsational, with Captain Hook and Mr. Smee posing for photos at the bottom. The line was VERY long, and we didn't wait for that.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

We stopped in front of the Castle, though! And then we ran through the Castle and into Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.

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The princesses were along "small world way" as usual, but again, the lines were long except for Merida. She was quite taken with the guys in their skirts.

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In Toontown, I made us stop because Marie was out with Clarice (Marie's personality is SO like our cat Princessa). And the cast member that we'd seen in Frontierland during the 10K, who was so wonderful and enthusiastic (without coffee!) was working that line, so we wanted her in our photo, too.

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And then there was the car incident...poor Anna!

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

We took the Big Thunder Trail through Frontierland and then into New Orleans Square and the Mile 5 sign.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

Backstage again by Splash Mountain and around the perimeter of the park and into Downtown Disney...lots of people there to cheer us on. As we arrived at the Disneyland Hotel, there they were - my favorite Red Hat Society ladies! I love seeing them, and they really come out and support the runners.

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We ran down a side road and suddenly were off Disney property onto Walnut Street, in the residential area. And there was the mile 6 sign. Almost halfway through the race before we exit Disney property - that's one reason we love this course so much.

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By Mile 8 we were into downtown Anaheim, where we went down the Promenade and past City Hall and the Muzeo.

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As much as I enjoy it, the course is a little cruel - we're on Harbor headed south towards Disneyland at mile 9.5 and we can see the Matterhorn and the Team Disney Anaheim building and it looks like we're so close to the end...but then we take a left onto Ball and head east again to add some more miles. That's the least enjoyable part of the course, through commercial areas with lots of strip malls and fast food places.

The sun had kind of come out and it had warmed up a little as we went past the Garden Walk and some of the hotels on Manchester.

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The Mile 12 sign was near the back side of Cars Land - we'd seen it three hours earlier, too!

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Oh no! What happened to the band? Someone stole the band!

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That last mile always seems short to me (that's a good thing!) as we went around the back side of Cars Land and Paradise Pier before crossing Disneyland Drive and heading to the finish line south of the Paradise Pier Hotel.

We stopped at the announcer's stand just before the finish line to sing Happy Birthday to Rudy and he shared some birthday cupcakes with us. Yum! (Way better than anything that was in the silly runDisney box.)

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Lee and I got our Tinker Bell medals and our Coast-to-Coast medals. Eddie also had run Dopey and qualified for Coast-to-Coast, but he is running the Princess Half next month, and getting the special pink Coast-to-Coast medal for those who run Tink and Princess, so he didn't get his C2C at this time.

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We had such a great time running the race with Eddie and Anna! Though we didn't stop for many character photos we still made a lot of other photo stops (I didn't include nearly all of the photos in this blog), and while we again had a "personal worst" half marathon time, we had a whole lot of fun.

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The Tinker Bell Half Marathon remains my favorite of the Disney half marathons - I really enjoy the course because it has so much "Disney time" to it. Over 6 miles on Disney property, and it really takes you all over both of the theme parks. I think the only areas we didn't run through were Adventureland and "a bug's land", though we did the latter during the 10K. It's always interesting to get a glimpse into some of the backstage areas, too. There's very few places where the course gets unpleasantly narrow and crowded, and they don't last long. It's also a nice size - this year there were a little over 13,000 finishers. The atmosphere of this race is great, too - everyone just seems to have a lot of fun with it and costumed runners are more the rule than the exception. And January in southern California has practically perfect running weather.

I'm very thankful that we survived running 67.9 miles over the course of six races in eleven days, and especially that we remained healthy and injury-free. I'm sure our slow pace in all of the races helped a lot.

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On Monday morning we went to Pixie Hollow at Disneyland to visit Tinker Bell and tell her how much we had enjoyed running her races and show off our three medals.

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Next year we won't have the same opportunity to earn our Coast-to-Coast medals so quickly because the Tinker Bell half marathon weekend moves to Mother's Day weekend in May. I'm disappointed in that - the weather is SO much nicer (cooler) in January than it is in May. I also don't think it's very fair to all the moms who want to race AND spend time with their kids...I think a lot of women have run it as a "girl's weekend" kind of thing, which doesn't work very well with Mother's Day. But I understand it - since it's been back-to-back with Marathon Weekend these last two years that's a lot for runDisney to try to do so quickly. It would have been nice if they'd left it during one of the winter months, though.



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About January 2014

This page contains all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in January 2014. They are listed from oldest to newest.

December 2013 is the previous archive.

February 2014 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.